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NIO 500 kW Charger
Image courtesy of NIO


NIO Announces 500 kW EV Charger & 3rd Generation Battery Swap Technology

NIO is about to begin installing its latest 500 kw 640 amp EV charger. It also will soon roll out its 3rd generation swapping stations.

The race is on in China to offer electric car drivers the fastest possible EV charging experience. XPeng and GAC Aion say they have 480 kW chargers coming, but at its second Power Day this week, NIO has topped both with its announcement that it will have 5o0 kW, 640 amp chargers in operation both in China and Europe by the end of this year.

According to CNEvPost, NIO provided few details about its new ultra high power chargers, but XPeng says its 480 kW equipment is capable of charging four times faster than those currently available on the market and 12 times faster than mainstream charging stations. Vehicles can add 200 kilometers of range in as little as five minutes of charging time and charge the battery from 10 to 80% in 12 minutes. Since the NIO chargers will have 20 kW more power, those performance figures should be enhanced, at least a little bit.

3rd Generation Battery Swap Stations

NIO began installing battery swapping stations several years ago. The first generation stations held 5 batteries and could provided up to 120 swaps a day. The company ultimately installed 200 before rolling out its second generation swapping stations in April of last year. As of now, there are a total of 1011 NIO battery swapping stations, most of them in China, but a few in Europe as well. The second generation facilities store 13 batteries and can perform 312 swaps daily. There are already four of them in Oslo, with more planned for Bergen, Stavanger, Trondheim and Kristiansand this year. NIO expects to have 20 of them in Norway by the end of 2022, according to Electrive.

This week, the company said the third generation swap stations will be able to store more batteries and will have a more flexible layout but provided no further details. other than to say they are nearing the end of development and are being tested. The first of them is expected to go into service by the end of this year or early in 2023. NIO  says it will complete a battery swap network with full coverage on many highways and in 19 urban areas by 2025.

NIO currently has 8,961 battery packs in its swapping system — 3,821 long range and 5,140 standard range. It is developing V2G technology that will allow those batteries to provide energy storage for local power grids using its new back end interface.

The Takeaway

The EV revolution needs more and faster chargers. China is leading the way and letting the rest of the world follow. Manufacturers in Europe and North America are in danger of falling well behind there Chinese competitors. The US in particular is way behind in terms of charging speed and availability of reliable charging equipment.

All the battery factories in the world won’t help if there are no places to charge batteries quickly. NIO and XPeng have thrown down the gauntlet. Now to see how those US and European companies respond.

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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else The Force may lead him. He is proud to be "woke" and doesn't really give a damn why the glass broke. He believes passionately in what Socrates said 3000 years ago: "The secret to change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old but on building the new."


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